Following criticism online, former “That ’70s Show” actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis apologized on Saturday for writing letters of support a few months ago to the judge overseeing their co-star Danny Masterson’s rape case.
In a video posted on Kutcher’s Instagram account, Kutcher and Kunis, who are married, explained that Masterson’s family had reached out to them to write the support letters “to represent the person that we knew for 25 years,” so the judge could consider them when sentencing Masterson.
“The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury’s ruling,” Kunis said in the video.
“They were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or retraumatize them in any way,” Kutcher added. “We would never want to do that. And we’re sorry if that has taken place.”
The apology video arrived just a day after the letters were shared publicly. In the letters, the couple described their co-star’s positive influence on them in several paragraphs.
Kutcher described Masterson in his letter as a “role model” and “a person that is consistently there for you when you need him.” Similarly, Kunis described Masterson as “an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure to me” and detailed his positive influence on her.
“While I’m aware that the judgement [sic] has been cast as guilty on two counts of rape by force and the victims have a great desire for justice. I hope that my testament to his character is taken into consideration in sentencing,” Kutcher wrote in his letter. “I do not believe he is an ongoing harm to society and having his daughter raised without a present father would [be] a tertiary injustice in and of itself.”
The couple received criticism online for writing the letters from several people, which has continued in the wake of their apology video.
“We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson,” Kutcher said at the beginning of the video.
“We support victims. We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future,” Kunis added, likely referencing the foundation Kutcher co-created in 2009 to combat human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.
Masterson, 47, was charged with sexually assaulting three women in June 2020 and underwent two trials. The actor is a Scientologist, as were the women that he raped. Prosecutors said that the Scientology officials protected Masterson for years after he drugged and sexually assaulted the women. The victims testified that the church barred them from reporting the assaults to the police.
In the second trial that ended on May 31, Masterson was found guilty of raping two women. (The jury was not able to reach a verdict on an additional count of rape involving a third woman). He was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison on Thursday for raping two women at his Hollywood home in the early 2000s.
“Our heart goes out to every single person whose ever been a victim or sexual assault, sexual abuse, or rape,” Kunis concluded in the apology video.
The support letters were written after Masterson’s guilty verdict was announced and in the months leading up to the judge’s decision on his sentencing. “Good Morning America” reported on Friday that Kutcher and Kunis were among more than 50 others who also wrote support letters to the judge, including former “That ’70s Show” stars Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith.
Full copies of the letters written by all four former “That ’70s Show” co-stars were published by reporter Meghann Cuniff on Friday.